Friday, April 04, 2014

Age of Wonders III Gameplay Review

I'm playing Age of Wonders III, a turn-based fantasy 4X strategy game by Triumph Studios.

The game features two campaigns, the first of which serves as an extended tutorial. There are also scripted scenarios, impressively designed random maps with lots of options for game customization, and online multiplayer. The interface does a decent job putting control at your fingertips, offering up summaries of your heroes, armies, cities, and spells off to one side. A list of actions to take is provided each turn, and searchable in-game help is provided. Age of Wonders III has a quick pace, giving you something to do each turn. Each map has a large number of independent areas to find during exploration (though they usually do not post a threat), and quests can be provided by autonomous villages. City management is simplified to place focus on the military; buildings can be built to provide resources or unlock new units. Your leader can research new spells and empire-wide bonuses, and unlock new abilities through combat experience; additional heroes can also be hired to lead your troops. Units have a good amount of variety in attributes, although the same types of units are repeated across races and classes. Diplomatic options are limited with the ability to align or declare war with others. Tactical battles are intriguing, offering depth through unit abilities. The AI is passable: while computer opponents occasionally exhibit questionable strategies and tactics, they will take advantage of wounded units and undefended villages. Overall, Age of Wonders III is a dazzling sequel worthy of your time.